Variety reports that Focus Features has teamed up with Oprah Winfrey’s Harper Productions and Sam Mendes’s Neal Street Productions to produce a film version of the novel “Netherland” by Joseph O’Neill. Released in 2008, “Netherland” is the story of a Dutch stockbroker living in New York City who forms a cricket team with marganalized immigrants. It won the 2009 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. Christopher Hamptom (“Atonement”) is writing the script.
Perhaps most notable is the fact that Sam Mendes has expressed interest in helming the picture himself. Having worked on stage for years, his feature film debut, “American Beauty”, earned five Oscars in 1999, including Best Director. His subsequent films include “Road to Perdition”, “Jarhead”, “Revolutionary Road”, and this year’s effort “Away We Go”. Mendes has had such a diverse filmography that cricket-playing stockbrockers sounds only like the next logical step in his career, but the novel itself seems to take a sweeping survey of the kind of 9/11 divide that forces us to ask ourselves about the way in which we identify with our environment and the people around us; just the kind of material that I would expect Sam Mendes to tackle.